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evil eye

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Afikoman

Overview page. Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

This word of uncertain etymology but of Greek origin means ‘dessert’ and is now used to denote the piece of unleavened bread, matzah, eaten at the end of the Seder on the first night of...

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amulet

Overview page. Subjects: History by Period.

An ornament or small piece of jewellery thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease. The word is recorded from the late 16th century; it comes from Latin, but is of unknown...

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charm wands

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A name sometimes given to ornamental glass objects shaped as rolling-pins or small walking-sticks, in which either the glass itself has a multicoloured twisting pattern, or the object is...

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an drochshúil

Overview page. Subjects: Religion.

Droch súil, an. ModIr. for evil eye; in ScG it is an droch shúil.

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eye

Overview page. Subjects: Medicine and Health — Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).

n. the organ of sight: a three-layered roughly spherical structure specialized for receiving and responding to light. The outer fibrous coat consists of the sclera and the...

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holed stones

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One of the most widespread magic devices to protect both man and beast was a pebble with a natural hole in it, also called ‘hagstone’, ‘witch-stone’, or (in the north-east) ‘adder-stones’....

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horse brasses

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Brass plaques as ornaments for the harness of cart-horses were first made in the late 18th century; they became very popular in the 1850s, replacing an older style of adornment with...

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image magic

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In magic, injuring a model injures the person it represents, especially if it incorporates his hair or fingernails, or is given his name. In 963 a woman was executed by drowning for driving...

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incantation

Overview page. Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500) — Literature.

The chanting or reciting of any form of words deemed to have magical power, usually in a brief rhyming spell with an insistent rhythm and other devices of repetition; or the form of words...

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lucky beans

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A number of types of beans and large seeds are regularly washed up on the western shores of Britain, having been carried by the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean or South America, and there is...

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Ring Signs

Overview page. Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).

(or “characters”), a modern term applied to magical characters developed and popularized on Greco-Egyptian amuletic intaglio gemstones and perpetuated on Byz. amulets (5th–7th C.). So named...

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spitting

Overview page. Subjects: Biblical Studies.

The worst kind of insult was to spit into someone's face (Num. 12: 14; Matt. 26: 67), but sometimes Jesus spat in the performance of healings (Mark 7: 33).

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witch balls

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Large, heavy glass balls coated with glossy reflecting silver, gold, or brightly coloured paint, first made about 1690, and popular in the 19th century; or a smaller type from the late 18th...

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